Five examples of how the pandemic is continuing to reshape lives in Japan, more often than not for the worse:
- Economic insecurity, social isolation and the dread that those you love might fall victim to the virus have stirred a toxic mix of stress and anxiety, writes Alex K. T. Martin. And for the first time in over a decade in Japan, the number of those who took their own lives in 2020 exceeded the previous year’s total, reversing painstaking work to curb the stubbornly high number of suicides.
- Stress and fatigue induced by COVID-19 are adding to the traditional anxieties that come with the colder months of the year. Thankfully, social media is full of advice on coping with tough times, notes Kaori Shoji in Japan Pulse, like breathing through your nose and getting lots of the color blue in your life.
- Doctors are warning that many people who contract the coronavirus, especially younger patients, are suffering aftereffects for a lengthy period of time even after testing negative for the virus. The aftereffects include malaise and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, patients became bedridden even though they had been initially diagnosed with a mild case of COVID-19.
- Parents with children in some nurseries in Japan are being asked to consider keeping their kids at home to help reduce the number of children in the facilities’ care and curb the risk of coronavirus infection. Yet the government has asked child care facilities to stay open as much as possible, which has left parents confused about whether to keep their children home.
- The idea of a four-day workweek has increasingly been embraced by companies inside and outside Japan during the pandemic. As well as enhancing productivity and helping workers maintain a more healthy work-life balance, supporters say the move can help cut the use of paper, electricity and office expenses — and reduce the number of people at the workplace at one time.